Defeat thou know’st not, canst not know;
Only thy aims so lofty go,
They need as long to root and grow
As any mountain swathed in snow.
Go on and prosper, holy friend.
I, weak and ignorant, would lend
A voice, thee, strong and wise, to send
Prospering onward, without end.
Methinks I see thee, lying calm and low,
Silent and dark within thy earthy bed;
Thy mighty hands, in which I trusted, dead,
Resting, with thy long arms, from work or blow;
And the night-robe, around thy tall form, flow
Down from the kingly face, and from the head,
Save by its thick dark curls, uncovered—
My brother, dear from childhood, lying so!
Not often since thou went’st, I think of thee,
(With inward cares and questionings oppressed);
And yet, ere long, I seek thee in thy rest,
And bring thee home my heart, as full, as free,
As sure that thou wilt take me tenderly,
As then when youth and nature made us blest.
Upon a rock, high on a mountain side,
Thousands of feet above the lake-sea’s lip,
A rock in which old waters’ rise and dip,
Plunge and recoil, and backward eddying tide
Had, age-long, worn, while races lived and died,
Involved channels, where the sea-weed’s drip
Followed the ebb; and now earth-grasses sip
Fresh dews from heaven, whereby on earth they bide—
I sat and gazed southwards. A dry flow
Of withering wind blew on my drooping strength
From o’er the awful desert’s burning length.
Behind me piled, away and upward go
Great sweeps of savage mountains—up, away,
Where panthers roam, and snow gleams all the day.
Ah, God! the world needs many hours to make;
Nor hast thou ceased the making of it yet,
But wilt be working on when Death hath set
A new mound in some churchyard for my sake.
On flow the centuries without a break.
Uprise the mountains, ages without let.
The mosses suck the rock’s breast, rarely wet.
Years more than past, the young earth yet will take.
But in the dumbness of the rolling time,
No veil of silence will encompass me—
Thou wilt not once forget, and let me be:
I easier think that thou, as I my rhyme,
Wouldst rise, and with a tenderness sublime
Unfold a world, that I, thy child, might see.
My gift would find thee fast asleep,
And arise a dream in thee;
A violet sky o’er the roll and sweep
Of a purple and pallid sea;
And a crescent moon from my sky should creep
In the golden dream to thee.